Beginners Guide to 7 Card Stud

Written by on August 5, 2017

Beginners Guide to 7 Card Stud

7-Card stud is a fun alternative to Holdem poker, the poker hands you are trying to make are the same – but the layout of the game is completely different. 7-Card stud is usually played with a fixed betting limit which doubles after the 4th card. Instead of blinds each player posts an ‘ante’ before the hand is dealt, this is usually a fraction of a small bet. The lowest showing card (up-card) then starts the betting with a forced small bet – this is known as the ‘bring in’.

3 cards are dealt to each player to begin with (2 face down and 1 face-up). A further 3 cards are then dealt face-up to each player with a round of betting between each. Finally a 7th card is dealt face-down. At showdown each player must use 5 of their own 7 cards to make the best poker hand.

The standard definition used in 7-card Stud is to refer to each card as a ‘street’. 3rd street refers to the betting round after the first 3 cards are dealt, 4th street next and so on up to 7th street. The betting limit doubles on 5th street and remains at that level for the rest of the hand.

Below is a beginners guide to starting hand selection in 7-card stud.

Trips are the best possible starting hands, A-A-A being the best of these, build a pot as soon as possible with these (rare) holdings
High pairs make excellent starting hands, especially when they are ‘hidden’ (the 2 cards not showing to the table).
Medium pairs are generally playable as long as you do not see any of your required cards in another players hand – this would reduce your chances of making trips or better. If your ‘kicker’ (non-paired card) is higher than the highest card showing in your opponents hands this increases the strength of your hand by giving you a way to out-draw opponents when you happen to be behind.
3 cards of one suit can also be played, do not play them when you have seen more than 2 of your suit showing in your opponents starting cards – your chances of making a flush have gone down when this is the case. If all three cards are high then you can consider playing them when 3 or more of your suit are showing.
3 cards to a straight are sometimes also playable for a small bet on 3rd street. Make sure that you look for all the cards 2 ranks away from your holding as well as next in rank. If you make 4 to a straight on 4th street you will be looking to hit those second ranked cards.
Finally it may be possible to play hands containing 3 high cards, exercise caution with these as you may already be behind a pair. The ideal situation for high-card hands is where most opponents have folded and they are all above the highest card showing.
When playing 7-card Stud it is very important to remember the cards which your opponents have folded. This includes not only those which match your pairs but combinations which can make straights and flushes too. Having seen 3 ‘outs’ to your straight already discarded can reduce your chances of making your hand by around 40% – this is vital information.

Once the 4th card is dealt in 7-card stud the highest 2-card hand of the cards showing acts first. If there is a pair showing then the initial bet can be doubled by any player in the hand. If you do not get any help for your flush or straight draw on 4th street and the betting gets heavy then you should generally discard these hands quickly. Continuing with draws for ‘just one small bet’ can lead to the situation where you have the odds to continue for the rest of the hand. The pot will be so large that it is mathematically correct to call those additional bets even when behind. Avoid this situation by folding busted draws at the earliest possible opportunity.

If an opponent shows a pair on 4th or subsequent streets you need to be aware of the danger that they have trips. This is particularly true for opponents who do not play too many of their starting hands. If you have a strong draw to a straight or a flush then you need to be aware that an opponent may be drawing to a full house.


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